Cllr Mae Sexton
A decision by the State’s child care agency to reject proposals for a family resource centre in Longford town has been branded “pure politics”.
Local politicians reacted with fury this week to a decision by Tusla over its claim a lack of suitable funding was the main reason for the decision.
Independent Cllr Mae Sexton aired the topic at Longford County Council’s March monthly meeting and questioned why the appeal, given the strength it had received from various other locally based organisations, had been turned down.
A joint application for such a provision was made by Longford Community Resources Ltd on behalf of the many hard working agencies working in partnership in Longford town such as Longford Childcare Committee, the Attic, Bernados, the EDI Centre, Longford Women’s Link and LCRL itself,” she said.
Others, led by Cllr Seamus Butler pointed the finger squarely on the shoulders of the Council’s lead government party-Fine Gael.
The Longford businessman said the response from Tusla smacked of “pure politics” and was simply not credible.
“I cannot think of an application anywhere that would have so many threads of backing from youth to LCRL to Longford Women’s Link and the fact it was said: ‘Thank you very much for your application but you are not in the top ten.’”
In a move which roused considerable displeasure among those sitting in the Fine Gael benches, Cllr Butler referenced an article in last week’s Leader detailing how the lobbying efforts of Cllr Micheal Carrigy had succeeded in overturning an appeal made on behalf of Co Longford Golf Club.
“According to today’s Longford Leader we have an expert in the house who can do appeals for certain groups and sports clubs that can get €50,000 that were refused. So we (Fianna Fáil) call on Micheal Carrigy to get that overturned,” he sniped.
Cllr Peggy Nolan was quick to intervene, insisting that while Cllr Carrigy would undoubtedly “work his magic” with Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone, the Fianna Fáil group leader “didn’t have to say” what he did.
“The politics of this makes me puke,” she snapped.
“If you look at the last census and you see the socio economic deprivation that’s in this county, we should have been top of that list.
“I want to know why it was refused and I am appalled that it was.”
Cllr Mark Casey said he intended raising the issue with OPW Minister and Longford-Westmeath TD Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran at a meeting in Dublin on Friday, something Cllr Carrigy said he was willing to sit in on.
“It is an Independent Alliance meeting but if you want to join us you are more than welcome,” he impishly told his Council colleague, joking however that any designs he may have on switching his political allegiances would be quickly shot down.
“We are more choosey than that,” he laughed, amid much amusement from all corners of the Council chamber.
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